Ah, there's nothing like a tender, steaming scone in the morning. (Pronounced "skawn" like "fawn" or "scone" like "tone" -Webster says either is okay.) They're quick, they're easy, and with a few tips, they are absolutely delectable. Ever since my first trip to England, the quest for the perfect scone continues Here at the B&B, they are great "appetizer course" while guests are waiting for us to whip up the breakfast menu du jour or of course mid afternoon hungries
Scones are probably the easiest and quickest of breads. Once you get the ingredients assembled, most recipes only require fifteen minutes of prep time and another fifteen minutes or so of baking time. A mix is even quicker.
But there are some keys to making those flakey, tender scones that you've been dreaming about.
Key #1: Use the right flour. Use a soft, low protein flour-we use a quality pastry flour. You want soft, tender scones and too much protein leads to too much gluten which makes your scones chewy.
Key #2: Keep your ingredients cold. Temperature is critical to buttery, flakey scones. Start with very cold butter-it should chip when you cut it into chunks and your liquids should be ice cold. Before you start, measure your milk or water and put it in the freezer for ten minutes. Consider chilling your mixing bowl before mixing.
Why do your ingredients need to be cold? The objective is to keep the butter a solid and not let it melt into a liquid. If your dough is kept cold, it will have little bits of dispersed butter. In the heat of the oven, that butter melts into the dough but leaves pockets and layers in the scones.
Work with the dough quickly to keep it cool.
Key #3: Don't work your dough too much. Kneading converts the protein to gluten. Mix only until the ingredients come together into a combined mass.
Key #4: Use a folding technique. For flakey, layered scones, use a folding technique. Roll the dough out to about 3/8-inch thick. Fold the dough in half and in half again and again. Roll the dough out to about 3/4-inch thick before cutting the scones.
Key #5: Use a ruler. If you would like nice, neat scones, use a ruler both as a straightedge to cut against and to measure equally-sized scones.
Key #6: Leave the cut edges of the scones alone. Patting the edges with your fingers melds the edges so that the scone will not rise as nicely or have a flakey, layered structure.
Key #7: Don't over-bake your scones. Over-baking for even a minute or two will dry your scones out. As soon as the edges begin to turn brown, remove them from the oven. Immediately, place the scones on a wire rack-the hot pan will continue to dry the scones.
* Scones can be frozen for up to three months. Reheat them at 300 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Probe the inside of the scone to make sure that it is warm.
* Scones are best fresh out of the oven. Recipes with more butter keep fresh longer.
* For the best shape, don't roll your dough thinner than 1/2-inch.
* Scones will rise to double their unbaked height in the oven. If they are properly cut, they will spread very little so you can place them close together on the baking sheet.
MONTANA MORNIN' SCONES
Makes 6-8 large triangular scones Montana Mornin' scones
3 cups AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
2½ tsps. baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
6 ozs. cold butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup Nestle Coco Evap milk + ½ cup whole milk mixed with 1 T vinegar or
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cold butter pieces and using your fingers (preferred method), a pastry blender, or two knives, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Don’t worry about large pieces of butter remaining – they’ll add to the scones’ flakiness.
Slowly pour in 1 cup buttermilk – careful, you might not need all the liquid. The resulting dough will be soft and just barely hold together. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface, a Silpat mat, or onto the prepared baking sheet. Knead the dough gently until it holds together – a dozen turns should do. Use a soft hand or else the scones will be tough.
Using a rolling pin or your hands, roll out/flatten the dough into a circle of the desired thickness. With a bench scraper or long knife, cut the circle into 6-8 triangles. At this point, you can brush the scones with some melted butter and/or drizzle them with some sugar.
Bake the scones for 12-17 minutes – baking time will depend on how big and thick your scones are. The scones are done when they’re lightly golden on top and are firm when pressed. Let cool briefly and serve warm.
Cinnamon Bun Scones
I happened upon this recipe as I was looking for something quick and easy for Sunday breakfast guests. They were wanting cinnamon rolls, but, alas, I couldn’t turn back time and prepare them Saturday night. Being a cinnamon freak myself, do yourself a favor. Make these as soon as is humanly possible. Seriously, they are that good. The oats and cinnamon and vanilla and pecans all just come together into one of the best things I’ve had for breakfast in a long time and the guests nabbed the leftovers .. as well as a copy of the recipe.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Quaker® Oats, quick or old fashioned, uncooked
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or margarine, chilled and cut into pieces
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 teaspoons orange juice or milk
Heat oven to 425°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.
In large bowl, combine flour, oats, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well. Cut in butter with pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In small bowl, combine milk, egg and vanilla; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir with fork or rubber spatula until dry ingredients are moistened. In small bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with the pecans and cinnamon; mix well. Sprinkle evenly over dough in bowl; gently stir batter to swirl in cinnamon mixture (Do not blend completely.) Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire rack; cool 5 minutes. In small bowl, combine powdered sugar and enough orange juice for desired consistency; mix until smooth. Drizzle over top of warm scones. Serve warm.